BJP wants PM to go, targets Congress too
New Delhi: Alleging kickbacks in the allocation of coal blocks, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to accept moral responsibility and resign.
"We want him to accept moral responsibility. The PM is responsible for the revenue loss. That is why we want him to go," Sushma Swaraj, who heads the opposition in the Lok Sabha, told the media.
She said all the coal blocks allocated without auction to private and state-run firms should be cancelled and these should be auctioned afresh.
She alleged that the Congress had made "mota maal" (big money) from the coal blocks allocation, which the official auditor Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said caused massive losses to the national exchequer.
Arun Jaitley, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, added that the prime minister should take "specific responsibility" for the entire saga -- which has crippled parliament -- and resign.
The BJP leaders` comments came hours after Manmohan Singh told parliament in a written statement that there was no wrongdoing in the coal blocks allocation and that the CAG report was flawed.
According to Jaitley, the government should also cancel all the 142 coal blocks which were given away mainly to private parties and put them afresh into competitive bidding.
"Only then will the truth or otherwise of the PM`s statement be known. In the 2G case, history vindicated CAG," he said of the second generation spectrum scandal.
He added: "The rationale for cancellation is that nobody should be allowed to enjoy the fruits of a corrupt allotment at the cost of public exchequer."
Both Sushma Swaraj and Jaitley picked holes in the prime minister`s written statement in parliament -- after he was not allowed to speak by an aggressive opposition -- and his comments to the media outside.
Jaitley found fault with Manmohan Singh after the latter attacked the CAG report. He said the Congress attitude was: "If you cannot subvert the CAG, you must assault the CAG."
He added that while supposedly accepting responsibility for whatever happened when he held the coal portfolio, Manmohan Singh had attempted to divert blame on others.
"First he said he takes full responsibility but step by step he has transferred responsibility to somebody else."
These, he said, included the federal structure, the parliamentary system of governance, the law ministry and the CAG itself.
Sushma Swaraj pointed out that while 70 coal blocks were allotted between 1993 to 2005, including the six years when the BJP ruled India, the Congress-led UPA government gave away 142 blocks between 2006 and 2010.
Both of them denied that the BJP was isolated on the issue of insisting on the prime minister`s resignation.
Sushma Swaraj said the Janata Dal-United informed Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar Monday that they too wanted the PM to quit. This was also the AIADMK demand, she said.
"But if we have to fight it out alone, we will be do it. It would be a majestic isolation because popular opinion would always be with us," said Jaitley.
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